Innovative new features, including automatic tiling for processing large scale output at high speed, and extended Advanced Inkjet Screens, for enhanced image quality, are introduced in a major new release of the Harlequin RIP by developers Global Graphics Software.
Harlequin Host Renderer 13 raises the bar in terms of productivity features for print service providers and provides new options to press manufacturers for scaling multiple RIPs for high performance digital front ends.
Version 13 of the Harlequin Host Renderer, the printing industry’s fastest RIP, adds automatic tiling to maximize the throughput of huge PDF, TIFF and JPEG files such as those generated in the corrugated packaging, wide and grand format, décor and textile markets. Harlequin 13 automatically tiles these large pages – some can be up to 200 meters/650 feet long - to split them across multiple RIPs for increased speed and improved load balancing.
Output is continuously streamed to the printer so that print service providers don’t have to wait for the entire page to be RIPped before printing can begin. This new feature minimizes RAM requirements and costs for a digital front end (DFE) processing very large output.
“The new tiling feature is specifically for high-speed digital printing”, says Martin Bailey, Global Graphics Software’s CTO. “Automatic tiling helps in maximizing throughput by splitting the output across several RIPs. It also reduces the cost for a DFE built to handle huge PDF pages, either every day or as an occasional occurrence, because the peak memory usage for a tile can be much lower than that for the whole page.
“Speed continues to be a key focus of Harlequin development, because a faster RIP enables presses with very high data rates to be driven at engine speed and reduces the bill of materials for a digital front end (DFE) or controller.”
Version 13 also introduces many other features including:
• Direct printing of PNG files, an important file type in some sectors of wide format and product decoration, in addition to PDF, PostScript, EPS, TIFF, JPEG etc. Consistent color management and halftone screening can be added for all input formats using a common API.
• Enhanced controls over sizing of output from image file formats such as TIFF, JPEG and PNG where the image does not specify a size.
• Extended Advanced Inkjet Screens (AIS) with the introduction of Opal; especially good at mitigating artifacts when inkjet printing on absorbent substrates at higher resolutions. AIS increase the perceived quality, and therefore saleability, of inkjet prints, and can enable the use of lower cost substrates.
• Extended support for larger DFEs, scaling from a single RIP instance, through multiple RIPs on the same server, to multiple RIPs on each of multiple servers.
The Harlequin Host Renderer (HHR) is supplied as a component or pre-packaged with a parallel processing pipeline as Harlequin Direct to enable OEMs to achieve the fastest possible time to market and to revenue while building a highly sophisticated and high quality DFE for a high-speed digital press.
It’s the print engine at the heart of the industry’s highest performing digital presses in products from vendors including Roland DG, Durst, HP Indigo and HP PageWide, powering their entire fleet.
Michael Deflorian, business developer at Durst Professional Services, says "HHR - including screening capabilities - is one of the key technologies for our promise to get the best out of the printer as part of our "pixel-to-output strategy". We share the same vision of industry-leading quality and performance with Global Graphics. We work closely with the Global Graphics team to provide our customers with the best technology available.”
Roland DG’s VersaWorks 6 RIP software is used across all current models of its printers and printer/cutters. Mr. Motohiro Ikemura, R&D general manager, Roland DG Digital Printing Business Division, said, “We integrated the Harlequin engine into our RIP software in only 6 months thanks to the cooperation between Global Graphics and our engineering teams. Its performance is outstanding and, because it processes PDF and PostScript natively, it handles files with ease. Support for PDF 2.0 was also an important factor to future proof our workflow,” Motohiro said. “Since we see more and more use of transparencies in customer jobs, Harlequin’s ability to process transparencies natively speeds up production time and reduces waste media. VersaWorks 6 recently added an important new ‘Job Assistant’ function that allows customers to automatically add cut contour lines for PDF design data without returning to the design software.”
"Harlequin Host Renderer has been powering our CLOUDFLOW RIP now for more than 5 years", Nick De Roeck, CTO of HYBRID Software explains. "HYBRID has a clear focus on the packaging and labels market, both for digital and conventional printing. The HHR has given us the flexibility to add our packaging know-how on top of a super solid HHR product. I am very excited with the continued innovation on the product, and our customers will benefit greatly from this lucky version 13, as it RIPs even faster on packaging files, all the while reducing the amount of hardware resources required." HYBRID will add version 13 to its upcoming CLOUDFLOW release 20.10.
“The Harlequin RIP platform has been used in the Elan since its initial release,” comments Richard Lee, CEO of Delphax Solutions. “It was selected primarily due to its quality and performance characteristics. Since that time, the RIP’s performance and has increased further, and become more feature rich, which has helped reduce the associated hardware costs required to drive our high-performance devices. Coupled with the support provided by the entire team at Global Graphics, this has easily justified the decision to have not only the Harlequin platform, but also the Global Graphics team, as a key part of our range of high speed inkjet digital production presses both today and into the future.”
Harlequin Host Renderer is supported on 32- and 64-bit Microsoft Windows, 64-bit Linux and Mac OS.